As the world heads back to the office and we see the return of frantically scoffing toast on our morning commutes, or agonising over what to cook for dinner after a long day, the simple luxury of being able to pop to the fridge is sure to be missed. But there is something that businesses can do to welcome back their employees and ensure a painless transition back to life at the office.
In a time of economic uncertainty, it might seem a tall order to ask businesses to foot the bill for free lunches, but there are a lot of benefits for both businesses and their employees.
Maintaining Mental and Physical Health
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and that means a reduction in sick days. Offering your staff free, healthy food at work goes a long way to maintaining their physical and mental wellbeing. A healthy lunch isn’t expensive, but so often in modern life we tend to lean towards what is quick and easy. Few vending machines can claim to boast a healthy menu of options, but if they’re the most immediate choice, then people will settle for crisps and a chocolate bar. Combined with the already sedentary lifestyle that desk work entails, the long-term health implications are concerning. If they don’t feel at their best, they won’t work at their best. An overworked, unhealthy workforce is sure to have a far greater impact on a company’s bottom line than the small price of offering a free lunch.
Not having to think about finding somewhere to eat or ordering food for delivery will reduce stress, but it also offers the opportunity to provide a meal that workers might not have the time or patience to prepare themselves. It’s one less pressure to deal with, meaning they can better focus on their work.
There are loads of exciting options out there to suit every palette, whether you want to spice up your team’s day with a curry or go for the more environmentally conscious option of vegan wraps or burgers. Make lunch the highlight of their day, rather than a fleeting interruption to their busy work schedule.
Syncing lunch schedules
A recent study from Staffordshire University showed that up to 82% of workers don’t take lunch breaks. When everyone is skipping lunch to meet that tight deadline, you might feel guilty for taking a break yourself. These social prompts form the basis of company culture; it only takes one person to decide not to take lunch for others to follow their example. Some might settle for tackling less demanding tasks like answering emails and consider that enough, but that doesn’t count as a break. People need to be able to get away from their desks for a bit to recharge.
Reputation Is Everything
People want more from this workplace than a nice paycheque, and why shouldn’t they? This is where they will devote a lot of their time, and so it’s understandable that they should want to work for a company that values them.Let’s not forget, a positive company culture increases job satisfaction and retention.
Customers are more likely to want to do business with a company that treats its people well, and potential recruits could be drawn in by a simple gesture such as free lunches.
From a practical standpoint, employees sharing lunch boosts team spirit and allows for a meeting of ideas, encouraging networking and collaboration between departments. They’re still ‘working’ even on a break. Maybe that chat over a carbonara is the key to fixing a big problem. It also allows for better time management, as employees won’t need to worry about waiting in line at the shops or for their order to arrive.
Coming Together Again
Going back to business as usual won’t address the concerns people have about the increasing pressures of modern life, and how our work contributes to that. It’s not enough to offer a competitive salary. People want to feel as though they’re a part of a team and not just another cog in a machine. Anything a business can do to make its employees feel valued is going to go a long way to alleviating their concerns. And the best part? It’s cost effective! A little investment in the well-being of your workers can have a profound effect on your business.